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The Flesh Counts For Nothing

John 6:63-66
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no-one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. (NIV)

Human nature puts all its effort into achieving greatness for itself. Yet Jesus says that it all counts for nothing! It is God's Spirit who brings people to new life in Christ. The Spirit teaches us and enables us to hear the voice of God in the Scriptures. The Spirit has divine power and the wisdom which are lacking in human flesh, and He has authority from the Father to bring people to Jesus.

God knows everything; even identifying those who will continue to refuse His love, and those who will submit to Jesus. However religious people are tempted to enjoy religious 'games' in which the flesh (our human nature) is glorified as we achieve our religious goals. Others are profoundly disappointed with themselves or God or both, as they fail to achieve their spiritual objectives using their own energy.

Many people try hard to live moral lives and are insulted when they are told that they cannot get to God by their own effort or good deeds. It is like telling them that they are not good enough or worthy of God's approval: and that is exactly true! None of us can achieve the perfection required in the flesh. We need God's Spirit to change us from the inside, as we admit our sin and failure. We need Him to give us new life in Christ. We need God's power to live in a way which pleases Him. We cannot witness to the grace of Christ without the Spirit's help. If we insist on doing it all ourselves we will fail. No wonder that many disciples (not the twelve) were offended and decided to stop following Jesus. It is the same today: those who want to follow Jesus on their own terms and in their own energy will never last the course. So, let us ensure that we put pride aside and submit our weakness to Him.

Mighty God. Thank You that I cannot reach You on my own, but have to depend on Your Holy Spirit to draw me to Jesus and give me the faith to believe in Him. I now know that I am foolish to think that I can live a righteous life with mere fleshly energy. Please forgive me for the pride which assumes I can earn my salvation through what I do. Help me to throw away that attitude and simply depend on You to give me the spiritual power, insight and wisdom which I need to follow Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams